5 unpleasant facts about Cuba that can dispel the romantic image of the Island of FreedomPictolic
Many guests of the Island of Freedom, barely having time to set foot on Cuban soil, hear from the guides — " Have time to see Cuba before the Americans spoil everything here!". Of course, this is just a joke, but, as in any joke, there is some bitter truth in it. In fact, Cuba is gradually losing its special flavor and you need to have time to see it before it changes beyond recognition.
Everyone who is going to visit Cuba presents it in approximately the same way. Nobly dilapidated buildings in the colonial style, perfectly preserved cars of the middle of the last century, temperamental mulatto women who do not know underwear, and a lot, a lot of good and inexpensive cigars and high-quality rum.
Unfortunately, most tourists are disappointed with this exotic country. No, there are enough mulattoes and retro cars here, and the colonial villas are still colorful and mysterious, but, in addition, guests have to face other features characteristic of the Island of Freedom.
The standard of living of Cubans is very low and most islanders live on the verge of poverty. The average salary in Havana is only $ 50, and many products have been distributed on cards for more than a dozen years. In this regard, it is not surprising that every foreigner here is perceived as a "walking wallet".
The state receives 60% of the national income from tourism, but ordinary citizens are not a blunder and will gladly take advantage of your generosity. It is not strange for Cuba to ask a hotel employee to give him an open tube of toothpaste or shampoo at the check-out.
You also need to accept the fact that new "friends" will constantly hang around you, who passionately want to become your guides, of course, for free. Only they will show you special attractions — bars where Hemingway allegedly got drunk, shops with souvenirs and alcohol, and the like.
In all these places, the guest is easily and naturally inclined to drink "a beer", have a snack or buy something. Of course, in all cases, it is none other than a visitor who pays. It may seem to you that a cocktail or a bottle of beer is a trifle, but for a resident of Cuba it is a worthy reward for his care of you.
If a guest of the island is looking for a corrupt love, then he will definitely find it. At the same time, not only for money, but also for lunch or even a can of Cola. On the streets of Cuban cities, you can always meet elderly American or German women, who are led by the arm of local young machos.
You can meet a girl for a week and be sure of her sincere feelings, since she does not require any money or gifts, but just drinks beer with you and has lunch. But this is nothing more than a special, hopeless kind of corrupt love, characteristic of Cuban ladies with a low income.
It is likely that many such prospects will seem tempting, but, in fact, for any normal person, the very fact of the possibility of such a relationship will seem oppressive. It is much easier and more honest to buy love openly, and not take it for a plate of roast meat and a few croissants.
Relatively recently, the situation with the Internet in Cuba was quite deplorable — it was simply banned. But everything has changed and now it has finally been resolved. If someone did not catch the irony, then we explain separately — all users of the world wide web on Freedom Islands are under the tight "hood" of the local state security service, who are keenly interested in what sites users visit and what they write on the forums.
But even this is not the main problem — the Internet on the island is very slow and downloading a relatively small file can take several minutes. You should immediately forget about watching streaming video and such a luxury as communication in social networks — this is exotic for Cuba.
Moreover, the cost of the Internet here is simply sky-high. For an hour of online work from some Internet cafe, you will have to pay at least $ 12, and for high-speed internet at the Meliá Cohiba Hotel in Havana is already being asked for $ 15 per hour.
Among the positive aspects, it is worth noting the good quality of mobile communication, which is again overshadowed by the pricing policy of local operators. It is better for you to immediately disable roaming, since the call to This will cost at least $ 3 per minute.
Hotels of the international Kempinski chain have already appeared in Cuba, but in most cases tourists stay in conditions far from world standards. Many hotel complexes have been converted from pioneer camps and even buildings that are completely uninhabited.
A trip of the economy level is almost a one-hundred-percent guarantee that you will have to live in such a hotel. Those who found the unobtrusive Soviet service will feel that they have returned to the good old days. Almost everything in such hotel complexes is on coupons and by appointment. At the entrance, the guest receives a bunch of papers for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the right to visit the beach, get a fresh towel, and so on.
It will be quite difficult for an inexperienced tourist to understand all this bureaucracy. There is another unpleasant moment associated with visiting the beaches. At the entrance to the hotel, the vacationer is automatically assigned to its coastal zone. If a guest goes to the beach of a neighboring hotel, he will either be kicked out of there, or will be required to pay for the rest.
The trends of democracy have made the resort vacation less pleasant. If earlier Cubans could not even dream of being in the same hotel with foreigners, now it goes without saying. Because of this, most hotels are crowded with locals who are resting with their noisy wives and shameless offspring.
If you dream of plunging into a real absurd "scoop", then you will definitely not find a better place than the Island of Freedom. There are two types of money in the country-a regular peso with a currency and a convertible CUC. The exchange rate of the ordinary peso to the CUC is 1 to 25. Designed for foreigners, "cookies" can be paid in special stores, which is very similar to the system of Soviet "Birch trees".
Before leaving for Cuba, it is better to exchange money not for dollars, but for euros, since the exchange rate of this currency is much more profitable when exchanging for local money. As for plastic cards, it is better not to rely on them. There are very few places where you can pay with them, and the cards of American banks in Cuba are not serviced at all.
The consumer basket of the average Cuban brings us back to the socialist past. The basis of the food of local residents is black beans, rice and bananas of a special variety, resembling potatoes in taste. Once a month, a family can afford to buy a chicken on coupons to arrange a one-time "belly feast" or, conversely, to stretch the pleasure for a long time.
On an island located in one of the most fishy regions of the planet, seafood for some reason is not in high esteem. Fish is eaten here little and reluctantly, and only foreigners can afford the famous lobsters and lobsters. Catching these arthropods is strictly prohibited for Cubans.
It is extremely unprofitable to be a foreigner in Cuba. If a local pays five pesos for a bus ride, then you must multiply this amount by five and pay at the exchange rate with the notorious "cookies". Renting a scooter is also fraught with difficulties — you can fill up this equipment exclusively on the column for foreigners, paying at a predatory rate.
However, no matter how hard we try, telling you about the disadvantages of a Cuban holiday, we should admit that the island is worth visiting at least once. Cold water in the sea for Cubans is +26 degrees, and in summer its usual temperature is about +35 degrees Celsius.
It should also be noted that Cubans are incredibly positive, open and cheerful. People here live up to 80 years without any problems and are in good physical shape at the same time. Medicine, which experts recognize as one of the best in the world, contributes a lot to this.